Not long ago, supply chain from a C-suite perspective was a few lines on the general ledger and a constant on the initiatives register, labeled “reduce that expenditure”.
In more recent times, supply chains developed on a “reduce that expenditure” strategy have shown themselves to be fragile, exposing vulnerabilities in businesses never before perceived at the executive level.
Today, mature businesses are seeing their supply chain as an opportunity – an opportunity to build distinctive competency, grow market share and develop an advantage that competitors cannot easily replicate. No longer considered a back-end cost to be cut, supply chains are now understood to be the front-end, most connected part of a business to its customers, and therefore worthy of attention and investment.
Supply chain: a competitive edge
Supply chain complexity and subsequent competency requirements have developed exponentially in recent times. Automation is becoming normative, end-to-end visibility and control are now mandatory, data integrity and systems maturity essential.
Today’s supply chains have become as complex as taxation and foreign exchange, areas of business the C-suite have long been very interested in. Now supply chain joins these other complex requirements, not just as a ‘like to have’ capability, but simply to get a ticket to the highly competitive modern game of order fulfillment and customer service.
To assist in highlighting both ambition and focus areas for the C-suite, Australia’s leading supply chain and logistics consultancy, Prological, has released findings from its annual survey. The findings uncover trends and future predictions from executives, supply chain, property and manufacturing experts across Australia and New Zealand.
Optimism in the economy is improving in 2024, with 37 percent of respondents foreseeing economic improvement in 2024 – more than double that of last year’s findings.
The Prological Supply Chain Pulse Check Survey 2024 brings views from more than 200 professionals in supply chain, logistics, manufacturing, retail, property and operations, uncovering sentiments on supply chain uncertainty, sustainability, visibility, staff shortages and future economic outlooks. It highlights which items will be on the agenda for C-suites and boardrooms discussing supply chain in 2024.
The survey reveals that optimism in the economy is improving in 2024, with 37 percent of respondents foreseeing economic improvement in 2024 – more than double that of last year’s findings.
Key findings of the Prological Supply Chain Pulse Check Survey 2024:
- 58 percent of businesses will consider automation investments this year
- 80 percent of respondents have an ambition to reduce carbon emissions in transport this year
- 57 percent of respondents confirm the C-suite is more focused on supply chains
- 41 percent are considering moving or expanding warehouse requirements in 2024
- 65 percent of businesses are considering upgrading warehouse management systems, transport management systems or freight management systems in 2024
- 30 percent of respondents expect the economy to improve in 2024, compared with 15 percent in 2023
Staff shortages are the greatest challenge facing supply chains this year, with 20 percent of respondents singling it out as the biggest problem to business success. Rising consumer demand, supplier relationships and inventory management are the other most pressing issues, while concern over geopolitical tensions eased compared with last year’s survey results, despite continued global turmoil.
The survey demonstrated businesses are starting to come to terms with AI, with almost half of respondents planning on increasing supply chain capability by using AI this year. Along with the increased interest in AI, IoT was the most prominent technology being adopted in 2023, closely followed by big data.
The Prological Supply Chain Pulse Check 2024 reveals companies are taking a long-term view to create future readiness.
ESG compliance has remained a priority for the respondent pool this year, with 80 percent revealing they have an ambition to reduce their carbon emissions in transport in 2024, with 15 percent intending to reduce carbon emissions in transport significantly. Only eight percent of businesses have no intention of reducing their carbon emissions.
The Prological Supply Chain Pulse Check 2024 reveals companies are taking a long-term view to create future readiness, investing heavily in technology as well as strategic employment to remain competitive and agile.
“With supply chain now a critical focus for the C-suite, visibility is more important than ever before,” says Peter Jones, Managing Director and Founder at Prological. “The data from this year’s Pulse Check Survey shows that driving new investments and improving end-to-end network visibility are key focus areas for business leaders this year.
“Despite labor challenges being a top frustration for businesses, it is encouraging to see optimism in overcoming obstacles through technology adoption and collaboration. As evidenced by the survey results, we are seeing rapid upgrades in supply chain capability and investment in preparing for next year and the next period of growth.”